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Bodhran buying for beginner

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Seany 30 Mar 01 - 09:09 AM
alison 30 Mar 01 - 09:25 AM
Lady McMoo 30 Mar 01 - 09:26 AM
alison 30 Mar 01 - 09:29 AM
Midchuck 30 Mar 01 - 09:35 AM
gnu 30 Mar 01 - 09:42 AM
RichM 30 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 30 Mar 01 - 11:37 AM
Seany 30 Mar 01 - 12:01 PM
The Dane 30 Mar 01 - 12:04 PM
Seany 30 Mar 01 - 12:55 PM
gnu 30 Mar 01 - 04:50 PM
Dave Wynn 30 Mar 01 - 05:33 PM
Dave Wynn 30 Mar 01 - 05:34 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 30 Mar 01 - 06:52 PM
Noreen 30 Mar 01 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,..random visitor to the site... 30 Mar 01 - 09:01 PM
GUEST 30 Mar 01 - 09:10 PM
alison 30 Mar 01 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,Bardford 31 Mar 01 - 12:23 AM
Amergin 31 Mar 01 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Bardford 31 Mar 01 - 12:41 AM
alison 31 Mar 01 - 03:34 AM
Mr Red 31 Mar 01 - 05:58 AM
death by whisky 31 Mar 01 - 06:48 AM
gnu 31 Mar 01 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,another bradfordian 31 Mar 01 - 10:08 AM
Kaleea 31 Mar 01 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,Bella 01 Apr 01 - 12:04 AM
Mr Red 01 Apr 01 - 12:54 PM
Ella who is Sooze 02 Apr 01 - 04:52 AM
Seany 09 Apr 01 - 01:40 PM
alison 10 Apr 01 - 01:16 AM
Ella who is Sooze 10 Apr 01 - 08:04 AM
Tig 10 Apr 01 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Mike Ireland 10 Apr 01 - 04:20 PM
Kelticgrasshopper 10 Apr 01 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,guest 16 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM
gecko 17 Aug 09 - 12:57 AM
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Subject: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Seany
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:09 AM

Hi,

I need some advice on buying a Bodhran. The kind of advice I need is not the type that says what to look for on the Bodhran as I know I have to check the construction etc. The advice I am looking for is where to buy and how much to spend.

I am a beginner and have never owned a bodhran before.

Here are my queries/dilemmas/issues :

1. As a beginner should I bother with a tunable bodhran ?

2.I am based in Cardiff UK and have found a few Bodhran outlets -

a) Hobgoblin in Bristol - selling Bodhrans made in Pakistan b) Gamlins in Cardiff selling whwat appear to be tourist Bodhrans - i.e. nice pictures poor sound c) Marcus Music in Tredegar House selling a large range of Bodhrans made in Wales - from Welsh goatskin.

Should I investigate option c (15 pounds to 150 pounds with tunables starting at 130) or should I wait till I am in Ireland (end of May, Dundalk) and buy there - I'm pretty impatient though ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: alison
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:25 AM

buy one of Eamonn Maguire's (Belfast)... and yes get a tuneable if you can afford it (although his are very reasonably priced)....because you'll want one soon...

be careful of the ones in Ireland...... all the shops have them on sale for the tourists and the quality of the skins is appaling.. you can almost see right through them.. so if you go for that option be VERY careful....

I got 2 of Eamonn's drums last year when I was home... and they are great....

I'll just go off and find his web site for you....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:26 AM

Hi Seany,

Personally I would not bother starting with the expense of a tuneable bodhran. I've been playing bodhran for some 20 years and still don't find I need to use a tuneable.

I would recommend a Malachy Kearns bodhran. His basic is about 50-60 pounds sterling and one with a heavier quality goatskin is about 70-80. There is also a deeper rim model. He does also make tuneables. These are all made in his workshop in Roundstone, Co. Galway and his website is www.bodhran.com He does a mail order service also.

I wouldn't personally bother with the Hobgoblin Pakistan-made ones (probably made by the Halifax company). Another cheap option is the Walton's line but again they are not as good as the Malachy Kearns bodhrans. If you want to go to the expense of a tuneable, there are several more good makers and I can give you further leads.

Best regards,

mcmoo Best regards,


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: alison
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:29 AM

Here is Eamonn's website

I love my tuneable.. simply because the Australian climate makes keeping the skin at the right tension very difficult.

here is a list of bodhran makers ..... maybe there is one near you who would let you try some different drums...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Midchuck
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:35 AM

Don't.

P.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: gnu
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:42 AM

You will find most makers at the link below, including Kearns. I have two of his, one tunable, and they are both just dandy.

Just as important is the tipper. Try some before you choose. They are cheap, so get a few different ones.

http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/

gnu


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: RichM
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM

Does anyone who has been at Goderich Celtic Festival a couple of years ago, remember bodhrans (for sale) that had a shell that was NOT wood : either fibreglass or a composite material?
As I recall, it was pricey, but had a good sound. I think it was made in Ireland, or the UK.
I heard Ben Grossman play one there, but Ben could make any bodhran sound good!

Rich


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 11:37 AM

disregard Midchucks advice :D

Marcus makes some good ones. certainly worth a trip to Newport for, to try a couple out... you should be able to get a good well built one for around £35-£50 to start you off get two or three ciapans (beaters) in varying weights as well

I wouldn't bother with a tunable at the beginning stage, I've never used one myself and they could be a pile of trouble


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Seany
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 12:01 PM

Everyone: Thanks for advice.

I will try Marcus Music, hopefully tomorrow. I will probably opt for a non-tuneable one to begin with and upgrade in a year or so if I am still interested.

It seems risky buying by mail order.

It doesn't seem to make much sense timewise or financially making a special trip to Belfast or Galway to get a £50 bodhran.

I am impatient and want one now !

Hopefully I will make a good choice. If I don't then will I have to 'beat' my words !


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: The Dane
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 12:04 PM

I agree with alison. Get a tuneable. I bought a non-tuneable when I started, and within a few months I wished that I had gotten a tuneable. They're worth the extra expence.

Jacob


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Seany
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 12:55 PM

Now I am confused -

perhaps it would help if someone listed the benefits of a tunable bodhran and can it really be worth the extra cost?

Also - how big a frame should I buy ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: gnu
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 04:50 PM

Go to The Bodhran Page I listed above and read EVERTHING on the site. Trust me, you will find what you need to know.

Size ? Get one that feels good when you are sitting.

Regarding the tunable/not, if you are willing to spend the money for a good Hran from a reputable maker, get the prices first and then make your decision.

As for my experience, the tunable eliminates tuning with water and hair dryers. However, the climate I live in varies from 15% to 50% relative humidity by season and, sometimes, by the day ( winter ). If you don't have too many of these extreme fluctuations, a tunable may not be a requirement.

In any case, you are the only one who can make the decision. Get a good one, tunable or not, and beat the hell out of it.

Good luck.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 05:33 PM

Please excuse ....I have not read all the thread....(this is unforgivable I know but too little time)...My advice on BHRODHRNOHDRANS is.....hit em half as hard but twice as often. Can't go wrong...

Sorry.....silly taking over....

Spot


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 05:34 PM

.....and as a melodeon player I would advise that the best type to buy are the ones that burn longest...;-)..

Spot


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 06:52 PM

Albert Alphonso's are INCREDIBLE. You can complain about the price, but the drums are flawless. I've got a 14" model and I love it. It has a good dynamic range, and a full sound. It's tunable. (Yes, you want a tunable drum, it's a lot better than wetting down or drying out your skin all the time.) I'd recommend a 14", but a 16" is fine. I wouldn't go any bigger in diameter. You can do anything with a 14' that you can do with a larger drum, and you have easier access to your whole range of tones.
If you don't want to spend a lot right away, Remo makes a synthetic head, 16" model. Being plastic it doesn't go out of tune, so it always sounds decent.(Not great, but good enough to learn on.)


Don't get a painted drum, especially with a beer label. They are acoustically designed to hang on the wall!
Rich


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Noreen
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 08:59 PM

Oh Spot- I thought you were going to recommend bodhráns made by the great Dick Lett... Looks like I'll have to do that then... :0)

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,..random visitor to the site...
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:01 PM

I just bought a tunable bodhran at the end of February from a maker near Galway who also makes Uilleann pipes. His name is Michael Vignoles. I'm quite happy with it.. 18 inch, tunable, good skin..


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 09:10 PM

mines a DEADRAT, goatskin around £80, BRILL


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: alison
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 11:42 PM

to begin with I'd suggest a 16 inch... one that fits comfortably under your arm..... I used to play a 16 .. now I play a 14 inch and it is lovely...

the advantage with a tunable is that if the skin is the wrong tension you can "fix" it instantly.... instead of the old water or heat that you need to do with non-tuneables....

some tunables need a screwdriver or allan key to adjust the tension, the Eamonn Maguire ones I mentioned earlier have "sliding wedges" built into the inside of the rim which work very well....

and he (and I'm sure the other makers) deliver anywhere...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 12:23 AM

Seany,
For what it's worth, here's my contribution. I currently play a 16 inch tunable.(Alberto Alfonso). My first drum was a very nice non-tunable 18 inch made by Alberta drum-builder Brendan Glass. For two years before I could afford that drum, I practised on pizza take-away boxes, telephone books, and a home-made practice pad made from cardboard glued onto a circle of plywood, with a cabinet handle on the other side. Inexpensive, but effective for practice purposes.

Benefits of a tunable, IMO (and here I mean a good, well-made tunable, not one of those cheap thin-skinned jobs with the steel rims and outside-the-shell tuning lugs):
1.It's tunable!- you can adjust the drum to the environment.
2. See #1.

Disadvantages of good, well-made tunables:
1. Can be expensive.
2.Can be heavy.
3. Tuning screws can be hard to see in dimly lit pubs - risk of poking allen key through skin, esp. after a few jars of the black stuff.

Here's one thing to consider, though - if you stick with bodhan playing, no matter which drum you opt for as your first, you will always want another one. That's a true fact. Same with tippers. There's always another one, that you don't have, but need.Good luck, and have fun.

Cheers, Bardford

BTW, a little thread creep here, but did I miss something? When did the bodhran become the Hran?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Amergin
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 12:28 AM

folks actually sell those things to unsuspecting bastards? my god.......


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 12:41 AM

"folks actually sell those things to unsuspecting bastards? "

So it's come to this has it? Another bodhran thread hijacked by the nattering nabobs of negativity. Times like this I feel like phoning my dad for advice, but I don't know who he is.
Cheers, Bardford


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: alison
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 03:34 AM

you can see pics of my 14 inch bodhrans here.... you should be able to see the "sliding wedges" on the inside....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Mr Red
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 05:58 AM

Marcus Music nr Newport (Tredegar House I think) either way it would be nearer for you, they need the trade.
Gert in Bristol makes them (in a really tasty shade of red if you want) I will post the tel numbers when my watch is tanked up again. Gert is a Bodhran specialist, its his business.
I would give you the tel number but looking at my telememo watch (call me a poser) and selecting tel numbers it tells me that the battery has finally gone flat after 7 years, does nothing last these days?.
Marcus are a friendly crew and go to larger festivals. They made my tuneable and I rang from NZ and insisted they made it in Red in time for Bromyard. Without a murmur their comment was "what shade of red. sir?" Try that at some places and you get "wot they got, OK?". Tell them I recommended them.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: death by whisky
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 06:48 AM

We bought a 14 inch of Marcus some 15 years ago,and reskinned it last year for a tenner.It cost about 30 at the time.If it sounds right,buy it.Also,Marcus has a reputation to maintain so its in his own interests to make and sell quality.P.s,its a non-tunable.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: gnu
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 07:10 AM

From the above posts. I must comment on my Kearns tunable ....

Tuning screws have large knurled knob ends which are easy to locate in pitch dark and easy to turn. The screws butt an inner frame, so no chance of skin damage. Tension can be easily felt with other hand while tuning by placing hand on edge of drum and feeling the difference between main frame and tuning frame. Screws hold tension well and have never backed off, even in the longest and wildest sessions. The skin of my drum is as even across its surface as one could get, and it's anything but thin.

Yes, it is heavier, but I sit to play, so no matter. The only thing negative is this. When I begin a session during low relative humidity, the screws are backed off almost to no pressure. At this point, they can rattle a bit. This rattle lasts as long as it takes to warm up the skin and get a little hand oil on it - five minutes tops.

I admit I have seen few other drums, but I can't see how one could go wrong with a Kearns, given his committment to quality and a design which virtually eliminates all but the weight problem, which I don't see as a problem.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,another bradfordian
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 10:08 AM

Of more service to good traditional music is a sharp penknife. Sounds better, costs less and leaves more beer money!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Kaleea
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 10:51 PM

I've had & played various & sundry bodhrans over the years to include those Pakistani (wonderful country & people to be sure) objects de arte suitable for wall hangings of the underprivileged art starved psuedo intellectuals. Get as good a tunable one as you can afford (tuning ring on inside-NOT those cheap screws on the outside of the rim!!) However, I must say that I feel as though I never played a bodhran before in my life till I got my 14" from Albert Alphonso. Therefore, go to all the sessions you can, ask to play everyone's bodhran, try every style of tipper you can find till you find the right one for you. Good luck! (And yes, Amergin & Midchuck,I play several "real" musical instruments, too.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,Bella
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 12:04 AM

I bought a non tuneable goatskin bodhran about two years ago - I thought that if I committed enough to playing reasonably well, I'd reward myself later with an upgrade. It really frustrated me at times until I got to know it - I think you have to have a much more "organic" relationship with the skin of an untuneable; you begin to learn to read the humidity, how much water to rub on (like lots if you want a dull/soft sound) how much stretching to do with the "holding" hand. I now enjoy it greatly - it has lovely chromatic tones (if I want that) or depending on tension nice crisp tapping/tones. Deer skin (in my experience seems to have a much softer sound - also good, just different. It's a good session instrument too, as it can be played loudly (like if the pipers all get out of kilter with the world, and a simple beat is required to bring everyone back into unison!). I suppose I might get a tuneable one day - it's not really a priority any more; unless an instrument is really bad, you tend to bond after a time. If you're just learning, I suggest you ask an experienced player trial it so you can hear it's reasonance and character.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 12:54 PM

GUEST,another bradfordian -
My bodhran is red from the blood of bodhran joke tellers.
Seany -
Gurt Mint Drum maker of Bristol
Gerhard Kress, 6 Mayfield Park, Ashley Down, Bristol, BS6 5J11. 0117 954 2351
Marcus Music, 01633 815612, Tredegar House nr Newport.
both sell all sorts of bodhrans, tuneables and cheapo's.
In my experience a tuneable at £120 is a good investment, but they can be heavier. My tuneable uses a different tightener so is light and they are only made to order from marcus Music, but being unusual has good pose value.
Actually I get the feeling that strangers don't expect too much of a Mr Red with a red bodhran, which makes any skin bashing sound better - or a relief. I don't usually play loud and that is an important lesson to learn. They will tell you, and you have to go through that phase to find your level. But remember in advance - it can be a problem.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 04:52 AM

Hi Seany hem hem....

After speaking to you Saturday, how did you get on?

Have you bought one... did you find one that you liked?

Let me know...

Ella (S)


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Seany
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 01:40 PM

I have bought a Hran - (presumably not a 'Bod' as the Irish translation of that word is the reason why the childrens tv programme called Bod was never broadcast in Ireland).

I went into the shop and said 'Can I have a Hran please' and they looked at me strangely, so I said instead,'May I have a Hran' and they said 'Certainly sir'.

I spent at least 45 minutes going trying out the Bodhrans that were in my budget range - in fact I spent more than I wanted to by about 30 pounds and then I had to buy a bag at 10 pounds. It was a miserable wet day to make things worse.

I bought a 16 Inch, non-tunable, un-decorated goat skin (she-goat) bodhran. The skin is thin and quite tight and I have to wet it. I was informed it would loosen with use. I had the option of buying a thicker skinned one but it would have taken a long time to knock it into a good tension and I may have lost my enthusiasm before then.

I have beating away every day since I got it, sometimes with music sometimes without, sometimes with rhythm and sometimes without, sometimes with the same rhythm as the tune and sometimes without.

Thanks for the advice. I will look up this thread if I am buying another one in the future and consider some of the recommendations.

Cheers,


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: alison
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 01:16 AM

we got "bod" in Northern Ireland.... what an awful program......

I don't think my kids would even entertain the idea of guessing what flavour of milkshake alberto frog would have........and here come PC Copper....

good luck with your bodhran....... if you need a good tutorial Stefan Hannigan's bodhran book / tape/ videos are all great.....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 08:04 AM

Great news Seany... speak to you soon...

Ella


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Tig
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 08:21 AM

And having bought your bod now comes the fun of 'how many different beaters should I have'! Check the length of any you buy. They should be about the length of your span for best effect. You'll end up with a favourite but don't forget to have a spare, how about one with brushes, a heavier one.....

Couple of tips I was given when I started playing some 25 years ago:- It's as important what you leave out as put in - don't go full belt all the time, you only knacker your wrist! Consider the number of bodrans already there. One and you're onto a winner, two works well if you listen to each other, three think hard and four forget it.

They've worked well for me over the years. By the way I play a tunable made by Johnny Milson over in Wakefield which I've had since the 70's. My original one came from the same source but ended up with The Chieftains because they had never seen the like!!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,Mike Ireland
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 04:20 PM

Hi Seany

To jump in with my pennyworth, if your going to buy a drum buy a good one the first time out and learn on it. It will last a long time and be broken by in by you as you are learning. I have to back what Alison said earlier in this thread as over the years I have ended up with three of Eamon Maguires drums (two tunable of different sizes). I did buy others and sold them on. Eamon ships anywhere in the world. You can contact him by email and his tuning system with the wedges is unique, its simply the best and easist to use I've seen. The Kearns is also a good drum but any I've seen have had a slightly thinner skin than a Maguire, the tuning system is also more fiddly.

Good luck

Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: Kelticgrasshopper
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 08:06 PM

I have both a tuneable and a regular Bodhran. My preferance is the regular style.. I don't like having to 'frig'with the screws.. would much rather just squirt a bit of water on the skin. Somehow the tunable one feel heavier and doesn't really feel right. Maybe after a while I'll feel differantly. I've had my original drum for about 20 years, and I love it.. My husband builds Bodhrans as well as hammer dulcimers by the way.. So I may be a bit partial.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM

Facinating Hearing about your search for the right Bodhran whilst in Cardiff. Hope it has met your expectations.
I am interested in locating a Bodhran teacher in the Cardiff area for a BEGINNER.   So any teachers out there who are in the Cardiff or surrounding areas??? Where and £cost please.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran buying for beginner
From: gecko
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:57 AM

Here's my tuppence halfpennies worth: I play a tunable goatskin drum made by Brendan White - who, I am led to believe, also makes Christy Moore's drums. Absolutely wonderful tones and yes, it's a bit heavier especially if you are playing standing up for a while but it's not really a problem. What is more of a problem is that when the drum gets warmed up it emits a rank goatish smell. Anyone else had that problem? After a few sidelong glances from those in close proximity I have fallen into the habit of mentioning that it's the drum that smells, not me!

YIU
gecko


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